Director Billy Wilder salutes his idol, Ernst Lubitsch, with this comedy about a middle-aged playboy fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.
A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.
Dino, the charming and lecherous Las Vegas singer, stops for gas on his way to Hollywood in Climax, Nevada. The oily gas station attendant is Barney Millsap, a would-be lyricist who writes pop songs with Orville Spooner, the local piano teacher. By disabling Dino's car, Barney contrives a scheme to have Dino sing one of their songs on an upcoming TV special. To entertain Dino, Barney contacts the village tart, Polly, employing her to pretend to be Orville's wife, Zelda, for a night. She doesn't like Dino, but does love being Orville's surrogate wife. Dino goes to a bar, where he meets the real Zelda, and they spend the night together while Polly spends it with Orville. Written by
Okay, so it's Wilder. Forget all the other movies he's made. By itself
this one's got a plot, a funny one at that and Ray Walston's ability
to replace Peter Sellers may not be possible - unless you never knew Peter Sellers had the part before him. Not a bad film at all - watched without any knowledge of Peter Sellers role or caring about what Billy Wilder had done previously (or since). I liked it - and the storyline fits the everyman dream of finding success (for almost everyone). Love those movies with happy endings. Whenever you see a movie it isn't always the people playing the characters that matter, it's the story being told and the craft with which it's told. This one fits now - may not have in 1964, but it does now.
17 of 23 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?